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7 Extract From Dispatch 7/50 From Cutler to Spender

Extract, Wellington, 15 May 1950


Pacific Pact
I have the honour to refer to previous Ministerial Despatches on the above subject, particularly No. 5/49 of 31st May, 1949. Also, Departmental Memoranda Nos. 267 of 21st July, 1949; and 269[1] of 25th July, 1949.

I. New Zealand Views:

(A). Minister: The Minister of External Affairs, (Hon. F. W. Doidge), has publicly stated on numerous occasions, that New Zealand would welcome a Pacific Pact, but, to be a workable proposition, it must have the support, in particular, of the United States of America, and preferably that of the United Kingdom, Australia and India. It would appear from the Minister's statements, that he envisages mutual military assistance under the Pact, although, primarily, it would entail economic assistance along the lines of the Spender Plan.[2] It is doubtful if New Zealand would be prepared to contribute financially to any great extent.

(B). Department: The feeling in the Department is not strongly in favour of a Pacific Pact, simply because the implications are not clear, and the Department feels that the price of United States participation might be the re-organisation and independence of Japan, and an important part within the Pact for the Philippines. They do not regard the Division dealing with the Pacific in the State Department in Washington as being very interested in a Pacific Pact, but if this were established, and were successful, then the State Department would probably participate.

(C). Chiefs of Staff: A Committee consisting of the Heads of the three Services considered a report by the New Zealand Joint Planning Committee, and the Chiefs of Staff recommended to the Minister of Defence that they could see no reason, at present, on military grounds, for New Zealand entering into any commitments in the Pacific, with the United States of America. They subsequently modified this view to say that there would be no military objection to a Pacific Pact, providing New Zealand's commitments under British Commonwealth Policy, were not interfered with. The Chiefs of Staff take the view that, in the event of any war in the immediate future, the Middle East will be the danger zone, and a concentration of available New Zealand troops in that area, in the shortest possible time, is the basis of their strategy and planning.

(D). New Zealand Ambassador in U.S.A.: Sir Carl Berendsen has cabled, at length, to the New Zealand Minister of External Affairs, indicating that he believes the State Department in Washington, and certainly Romulo, the President of the United Nations, are favourably disposed towards a Pacific Pact, and he is urging New Zealand to take the lead in this respect.

1 Document 4. The other documents mentioned are not published.

2 Spender had been influential in drafting what became known as the Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia, an umbrella under which donor countries provided economic and technical aid to participating countries in the region. The plan was sometimes referred to as the 'Spender Plan'.

[NAA : A4534, 48/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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